In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism
, California Berkeley physicist Richard A. Muller describes the results from a recent re-examination of climate records and declares the debate is finally, really, truly over.
Skepticism, Muller explains, may have been warranted before (how generous of him!), but now that the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project folks have worked over the temperature data again, there’s no more cause for skepticism about whether or not the globe has warmed.
Warming Red Herring - and Five Real Questions
Muller is right about the globe warming, but his framing of the debate is a red herring: arguments over climate change are not about whether one accepts or “denies” that the climate has warmed in recent years.
In fact, as I’ve been explaining to some colleagues and friends today, the proponents of urgent action on climate change like to conflate five separate questions into one question in order to tag their opponents as being “unscientific,” “deniers,” “flat-earthers,” etc.
Here are the five key questions that Muller and any critic of so-called climate skepticism must confront:
Q1: How has the global average temperature changed in recent history?
Q2: How much of that change is attributable to human activities, and how much to a given activity?
Q3: What can we expect to happen to the climate in the future?
Q4: How will those predicted changes affect people in the future?
Q5: What should we do today in response to Q1–Q4?